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July 27, 2016

Three Takeaways from DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2016

By IT Revolution

DevOps Enterprise Summit London

Hello, all —

For those of you who attended or spoke at the 2016 London DevOps Enterprise Summit, I wanted to give a big “thank you!” For me, it was an utterly fantastic event, because I learned so much from how leaders are transforming large, complex organizations and getting phenomenally improved outcomes in terms of fast feature flow from development into production, as well as preserving world-class reliability, stability, and security.

I’d like to share some of the highlights for our first London conference — that’s so difficult to do, because there were so many highpoints, but here goes:

Ron van Kemenade, CIO, ING Bank

Ron Van Kemenade

Ron van Kemenade, CIO of ING, a global bank that has over 34.4 million customers worldwide with over 9,000 engineers, gave the closing keynote on day 1. I actually was tearing up while listening to him share the journey of ING from 2011 to the present day. During one of our prep calls, Ron described that ING in 2011 was very much like Parts Unlimited in The Phoenix Project, with the majority of technology talent having been outsourced, with long, waterfall development process, with less than stellar outcomes. And now, without a doubt, ING is one of the most admired engineering organizations on the planet.

It was amazing to hear how their Agile and DevOps journey started, how it has expanded, and his desire to create a dynamic, learning organization. Of particular interest to me was how said that every technology leader must have courage to innovate and try new things — and if those improvement efforts are scoped properly, there is really very little risk, but so much to gain.

Many people mentioned to me how Ron’s talk was the highlight of their DevOps Enterprise Summit experience, and I can definitely understand that. In my mind, in 15 years, every leading technology organization will have someone like Ron leading it — in the meantime, to be able to get coached by someone of Ron’s achievements was a unique gift.

UK HM Revenue & Customs (UK HMRC)

DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2016

Antony Collard and Lyndsay Prewer are, respectively, the Deputy Director of Digital Delivery and Delivery Lead of Digital Platform at UK HMRC. For those of us outside the UK, the HMRC charter states that they “are the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, and we have a vital purpose: we collect the money that pays for the UK’s public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support.” (Think Internal Revenue Service in the U.S.)

They collected £517.7 billion in 2016, with 5 million business customers and 45 million individual customers. They shared the problems that have been associated with HMRC, including a complex and expensive IT estate, high-profile issues, and so forth.
Antony and Lyndsay shared their audacious journey to change how applications and service are delivered in the Tax Credits system, which in 2014, successfully served 800,000 business customers. In 2015, they moved the Self Assessment capability online, to serve the nearly 9 million households who file online.

They did it in a way that was “safe to fail” using something they designed called the Tax Account Router, to ensure that the worst that could happen was that people would use the old legacy system instead. I was amazed at how they integrated their new services into the existing architecture, which I think will become a textbook case of how to create modern services and DevOps practices into existing complex legacy systems.

“Meet The Luminaries Night” and assembling the DevOps Handbook coauthors


I was mentioning to many people how much fun I had at the “Meet the Luminaries Night” that we had at the end of day 1, because there were so many people who I respect and admire and have learned from. There are almost too many to mention, but they include Dominica DeGrandis, Damon Edwards, Nicole Forsgren, Dan North, Nigel Kersten, Stephen Thair, Dean Wilson, and so many more.

And also, we had all three of the four DevOps Handbook coauthors: Patrick Debois, John Willis, and myself there. It was fantastic catching up with them and signing preview copies of the book. With such hectic schedules, it’s so rare that we are all in the same place at one time.

And my favorite moment was having so many friends sign my personal early release copy of DevOps Handbook. Here’s a picture of Dan North signing my book! (Courtesy: John Clapham)

DOES16 Dan North
Looking forward to DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco 2016

DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco 2016

DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco is coming up on November 7–9, and I’m so excited to hear new experience reports, find out where past presenters and attendees are on their DevOps journeys, and learn as much as possible from everyone. I can’t believe it’s our third year, and I have no doubt it will be better than ever.

We are working on the programming for the 3 days, and this year’s theme is Leading Change. We had several hundred submissions to the CFP and the programming committee is working hard to pull together a fantastic lineup of speakers. I recommend that you purchase tickets early as the last two years have sold out.

- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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